Monday, July 9, 2012

Biphasic Sleep: Day 25

Now that I've been on a biphasic sleep schedule for a few weeks now (and have had some sleep mishaps and challenges), I have some additional thoughts about it.  The most annoying thing I found was that I could have controlled some of the dumb oversleeping things I did, particularly during my recent spree of traveling. It is entirely my own fault: I didn't want to get out of the comfortable bed, and neither did K, so we reinforced each other's bad behavior.  Since we're four hours apart again, I find it easier to get out of bed.  (More on my relationship with getting out of bed tomorrow, hopefully.)
  1. Nutrition plays a larger role in my energy level than I thought.

    I always knew I had more energy on days that I'd taken a multivitamin, but I didn't connect that to overall nutrition.  No one should be shocked to hear that fruits and veggies are good for them, but the extent to which eating fruits and veggies made me feel good surprised me. Cutting down on processed sugars and grains has also helped me feel more awake and energetic.

  2. I wish stuff wouldn't conflict with my nap.

    I don't have a lot going on right now, fortunately, so this doesn't impact me too heavily. However, my father rigidly prefers that dinner occur at 5:30-- shortly after he arrives home from work. He has good reason: he wants to get the clean-up done.  However, I nap from 5:00 to 6:30, which means I can't eat with my family. In some ways, because I rarely feel hungry at 5:30, I like having an excuse to eat later, but I still miss the structured time with my family.
  3. 90 minutes takes up a longer-than-expected block of the day.

    For one thing, it's FAR too long to slip away and sleep.  I can pull over and take a twenty-minute side-of-the-road safety nap (if there's a rest stop or place to pull over), but ninety minutes is out of the question.  Over the past few weeks, during my nap, I found myself falling asleep for twenty minutes, waking at 5:30, and then struggling to fall back asleep for another twenty minutes before waking again at 6:30.
  4. Afternoon sleep differs from night sleep.

    Perhaps this stems more from the heat and lack of air conditioning than the time of day or type of sleep, but I find that my nap requires a different configuration than my core sleep. I use a different blanket (that doesn't cover my feet) and I sleep in a different position.  Also, for my core sleep, I've been playing MP3s my brother got from his installation of Pzizz (as I can't figure out how to purchase the Android app, which supposedly exists. A Linux version would be fine too). They help delineate a cooling-down period at night, which means I fall asleep much more quickly, and Ard says they improve his sleep quality.  However, during the nap, I find that the same MP3s wake me up after twenty minutes.  (A theme emerges, perhaps.)
  5. When establishing a routine, I need to stick with it.

    While traveling with K for the wedding we recently attended, there were a couple of instances where we couldn't nap when we wanted to because we were driving or otherwise engaged and couldn't slip away.  This upset our sleep schedule-- but in much the same way that a couple of particularly late nights upset my sleep schedule while I had a healthy sleep routine.  To cope with it, we ended up sleeping a lot when we had the time, and now we're pretty much back to normal, starting to feel sleepy at around 4:00PM and 2:00AM.  (We're still adjusting a bit, and we really should have been more careful so close to the beginning of the adjustment period.)
Luckily, the disruptions haven't been too toxic to the routine, and we've gotten back on the schedule.  Still, the Everyman schedule gets more tempting every day: the naps are shorter, they have more flexibility when you get adjusted*, and you sleep for fewer total hours with shorter waking periods.

I don't want to change things up again before we've adjusted a bit more, though, and I haven't yet figured out how to make it work with our responsibilities. (I have a five- to six-hour block that requires sustained attention and alertness as I start a part-time temporary job at a preschool tomorrow, and K doesn't want to sleep in odd places if he can possibly avoid it.)

I won't worry about it, though: for now, the biphasic sleep works for us. (Note: it also works better if you don't miss naps, as we have.)
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*Because there's only so far you can move a 90-minute nap without seriously disturbing your sleep or the event. If there's an event that starts near the beginning of it, you're stuck.

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